Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

May the God of Hope fill you with
all Joy and and always.

Merry Christmas from our family!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Your opinion?

Well, he woke up chipper this morning, so that's a relief! He must be fighting something. His night was more settled after the advil. Although he woke up many times, it was never for a long time like the previous night. But, as I've found out, if you take care of the fever, those other symptoms - like the breathing and heart rate - usually reduce.

So, now it's your turn. I've been using an electronic thermometer in Nate's armpit for readings. He doesn't mind it, but I find it be be really inconsistent, and I do 3 or 4 readings just to see a range of temperatures...usually differing by a degree.

So the options are the ear thermometer and the temporal artery (or scanning) thermometer.

My favorite nurse in Edmonton told me that the ear thermometer requires a technique to get a proper reading. She told me if a nurse came in and didn't tug (gently!) on the back of his ear before inserting, the reading wouldn't be accurate. I also think that this will be much more annoying to a child than an armpit reading!

The temporal artery thermometer is quick! Just press against forehead and scan across to the temporal artery. It's really quick too. It appears to be quite accurate from what I've read, although there always are disclaimers. There were only a couple of nurses using these in Edmonton.

Any experience or information you'd like to share?

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Well, we'll see how tonight goes!

We gave it a try! Last year, we didn't take Nate to any functions, other than close family get togethers. This year, since he is a year older, and we don't have a surgery date looming, we felt a little more free to venture out!

We enjoyed two different family Christmas parties on Saturday evening. Nate enjoyed himself, it was evident, as he played and hung out with the kids. His night was a different story.....awake and restless from 12:30am - 4, then on and off till 8.

He seemed fine throughout the day today - I kept him home from church, but he played the day away with Brady, no problem. I was putting him to bed tonight, and again he was really restless. High heart rate (in the 130's) and rapid respirations. A slight fever too, so I gave him a dose of advil. He's sleeping now, so thankful for that! We'll see how the night goes!

So, this is either a little warning for us.....or a consequence of a decision made! Or maybe it has nothing to do with all of his interaction yesterday, but it's hard to ignore the results!

Praying for a good nights sleep! Hope yours is restful, too!

Friday, December 17, 2010

He did it again!

Our Nate made us proud (again) this morning at his appointment! We went in to see his cardiologist in Winnipeg for an 11:00 appt. This boy has come around, 180 degrees!! He studied the numbers as his blood pressure was being taken....not even a wiggle (he was getting really good at this already near the end of our stay in Edmonton....his job was to tell us when he heard the beep - and then he could take the cuff off himself!). He laid perfectly still and calm for his entire 20 minute echo. Although he was trying to make sense of the crazy stories I was telling him, I'm sure! Something about a rocket ship, landing on planets, and then zooming around earth, looking for his cousins' houses! Hey, you do what you can to keep their attention! Very fortunate to have a very smart tech (and mom to a 4 year old) who helped me confirm a few dino facts in my story!!

He was 100% compliant through 2 physical exams and prodding around his tummy and heart. Not even a peep or sign of fear. Such a relief!

The summary is this:

Nate looked a lot better at this appointment, compared to his last one, six weeks ago. He was showing some signs of failure then, but one of his meds was increased at that time, and there has been improvement in symptoms. His liver was not enlarged this time - also good news related to heart failure. The gradient on the band has not increased, ie. it's no tighter now than it was after surgery, so no improvements in leakage. He is wheezy in his lungs, and she suspects there might be an asthma issue, but we've been dealing with those symptoms for a long time.

We are waiting on Toronto's opinion for Nate's treatment. She feels that as long as Nate stays out of failure and continues to gain weight, as he has been now (he is 31lbs), and stays healthy, they will probably want to give him more time to grow and get that band tightening on his artery.

Thanks for praying for us through all of this! Prayer requests for the coming weeks are for Nate to stay healthy and be able to fight off any bugs that he'll be exposed to as we plan lots of fun family events!

Monday, December 13, 2010 far!

We're not even halfway through has yours been?

It's felt like a bit of a whirlwind in our house. Coming....or's anybody's guess! It started off with a bang on our anniversary.

I discovered the extra star cookies we'd served at our wedding, that I stashed away in our freezer. After 10 years, it was time to acknowledge them and move on!

We've had a little bit of time for play, too!

Um, it didn't seem as much fun for Nate. First time on skates and he wasn't too impressed with the whole thing!

Then, there was the opening of The Loft, at Eldon's Furniture. I tackled 200 mini cupcakes for the event. It's a beautiful gift, furniture and accessory boutique in the store - you'll have to check it out!

The next day was the Birthday! Happy Birthday to our 5 year old!!!

In between, it's been the usual work days for me, along with our staff Christmas party at the Gates on Roblin (even tried calamari....cross that off my list now!). Lots of fun volunteering in Brady's kindergarten class, putting together 9 gift baskets for my boss, a super fun bake exchange with my book club (I'm now ready to retire my mini muffin pan....after putting out 25 dozen mini's in just a couple days!!). And then trying to find some special gifts for some special people on my list!

While I was getting some shopping done in the mall, and passed by Empire movie theatre, I had to laugh. Don and I haven't gone to a movie together for at least 5 years (ie. before the boys were born). I've gone to movies....and he's gone to a couple, but never together! I suppose we need to work on our dating! We used to go to a couple of movies each month, back in the day! And now that things are getting a little easier, leaving Nate, we'll have to start dating again! There are a couple of movies coming up that I'd really like to see - and if you buy $30 in gift cards, you get $30 worth of coupons to use! Now, that's a win-win! It's an easy gift to give, too. And you can choose to be super cool and generous and add those coupons to the gift....or you can keep them for one will tell!

Coming up this week is Brady's first ever school Christmas concert on Wednesday! And then on Friday we'll head into Winnipeg for Nate's scheduled appointment at the heart clinic with his cardiologist.

We'll that's my December update - for the first 13 days, I guess!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Note to Nate's Cousins...

At about 10:30 this evening, Nate was finally ready to go to bed. We had already done all the bedtime and Bible stories earlier, with Brady, so now Nate and I were just going to say his own prayer and go to bed. At the age he is now, if we'd ask Nate to pray before bed, he'd end up just saying one of his meal time prayers, so Don or I pray in short phrases, and then Nate repeats what we say.

So we prayed, then Nate and I lay down in his bed. After about 2 minutes of quiet, except for some soother sucking, Nate suddenly said "Didn't say cousins". Sure enough, in the prayer tonight, I forgot to pray for all of Nate's cousins. We quickly did another prayer, especially for all of his special cousins!

It made me think. These precious little children are watching and listening to us so carefully. We don't always realize what they are all taking in, but it's moments like these that remind me. The biblical truths that we are teaching them are already taking root. What an awesome (and huge) responsibility.

So, to all of Nate's cousins....whether you live a few blocks away, or a little (or a LOT!) further away, and to his 2 very special cousins that we are all so eagerly awaiting to come home - Nate was thinking about you tonight and you are ALL in our prayers!!


I cherish this time of year.

To me, Christmas celebrates the love of our Father, and the gift of his Son.

Christmas is about family. Togetherness. Love. Joy.

Being a 'Christmas Baby' also brings extra meaning and celebrations. Christmas should be my middle's not, but Carole is my first name! Add to that our anniversary and the birth of our first child, December brings with it special memories and so much joy!

Be present in the moment, in these days of Advent.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

10 Years

Friday, December 1, 2000.

It was a cold day, much like today, but the trees were a thing of beauty, hoar frost covering every branch. After a fun day of photos at various locations, (the outdoor shots being my favorite!) we headed to the Chapel at the Winkler Bible Camp. Later that evening, as guests started to arrive, they walked down a snowpacked sidewalk, lined with twinkling Christmas lights. As they approached the entrance, carollers - dressed in long coats and muffs, and the men wearing top hats - lined both sides of the walkway, and filled the air with the beautiful sounds of Christmas Carols in four part harmony.

Our guests were seated around tables in the cozy cedar chapel. We all enjoyed a time of worship and singing, words from our pastor, our vows were spoken... the beginning of our life together. Then the party started!

10 years later....two beautiful little boys, family and friends who love and support us, a marriage that gets stronger through every adventure and our God who has blessed us and carried us through each and every day.

Friday, November 26, 2010

All Night

He slept! All night!

What a surprise for me! I woke up every few hours, just because that's what I'm used to, and each time, Don was still sleeping in our bed....which meant Nate was still sleeping in his bed!

I'm not sure what made this last night any different from the hundreds before this one, but I'll take it! Also, not sure what to do to make tonight the same as last night!

I'll probably never figure it out, but for now I'm happy that there is hope that this 2 1/2 year old WILL one day routinely sleep all night!

Hope your weekend is great! Take time to slow down, live in the moments, savour each memory and listen to your heart!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanks for the invite, Nate!

December 2008

Thanks to the adventure that Nate has been taking us on, we were once again invited to the annual Christmas Party, put on by the family support network at the Variety Children's Heart Centre. It was at a new location this year, since the Children's Museum is closed right now. It's called Kids Zone, and it was a pile of fun for all who were there.

One hi-light is the visit with Santa. As you can see, when we went 2 years ago, Nate had no problem with the Jolly Red Man! Last year, we didn't attend, since we were waiting for surgery and pretty much making ourselves scarce. This year was another story - Nate was excited about it and anticipating meeting Santa, but when we got close, he changed his mind! I'll let you watch the sequence of events!

What I love best is Santa's eyes in the last picture!!!

(And yes, it's the same Santa every year!)

We did have a good time and I had a chance to chat with another heart mom that I met when I spoke at the Women's Retreat a few months ago.

And a little update. Nate is now on the board, waiting for the referral to Sick Kids (Dr. Redington). Right now, all of his records are being transferred there, and we await the recommendation from Dr. Redington.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Now this is what it's all about!!! Some friends posted this on Facebook, and I just had to share. Gave me the shivers!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Borrowed words

I was checking up on baby Bowen again, and just wanted to share something that his dad, Matt wrote. It's a snippet from the book "Wrestling With An Angel" by Greg Lucas:

“I hear religious minded people say all the time with good intentions. ‘God will never place a burden on you so heavy that you cannot possibly carry it.’

My experience is that God will place a burden on you so heavy that you cannot possibly carry it alone. He will break your back and your will. He will buckle your legs until you fall flat beneath the crushing weight of your load. All the while He will walk beside you waiting for you to come to the point where you must depend on Him.
‘My power is made perfect in your weakness,’ He says, as we strain under our burden.
Whatever the burden, it might indeed get worse, but know this-God is faithful. And while we change and get old, He does not. When we get weaker, He remains strong. And in our weakness and humility, He offers us true, lasting, transforming, and undeserved grace.”

-Greg Lucas

I've been anxiously waiting to hear back from Nate's cardiologist. I'm expecting some information regarding what Dr. Redington (Head of cardiology at Sick Kids in Toronto) is recommending. As much as I want to hear what the next step is going to be, large parts of me don't want to find out.

Thanks for keeping Don and I, and Brady and Nate in your prayers.

Friday, November 5, 2010


My heart has been full this week. A lot of things going on - and a lot of wrestling in my heart and mind!

Do you remember, way back on Nate's second scheduled surgery? His was cancelled so baby P (who later became his room mate) could get his Berlin (artificial) heart. I got to know P's mom, too, but were never able to say good bye or exchange information before we left, since he was moved back into the intermediate care unit.

I've thought of them so much, wondering if had received his new heart yet. How his big brothers were doing, being away from their mom and brother for such long periods of time, since the family lived hours away from Edmonton. And wondering about how P's mom in and day out, life in the hospital, away from family and friends.

Well, the other day I was looking for other heart information online, and I came across an article from the Globe and Mail from May '10. It was about 2 babies with Berlin hearts at the Stollery. There was a picture of a family that I recognized from our time there, whose son was still on the Berlin. Then, they wrote about baby P, and that he had just received a new heart and was recovering from the transplant surgery in the cardiac ward. I couldn't help but become emotional, thinking about their family. They got a heart!!! But you can never stop there, because then you think about a family whose baby is no longer with them, but whose heart is providing another family with life.

Praying for heart families everywhere.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Betcha didn't know!

Family history.....
It's fascinating to look back at family trees and the history that we do know about our ancestors. On the Schmidt side, there is documentation of our family back to 1536. Very cool to read little snippets about their life, their faith and their different settlements both in Prussia and Holland.

But, I think one of the very coolest things that we've learned about our heritage, is about my dad's Great Grandpa Solomon (born 1818). We he was 30 years old, he fell in love with Maria (born 1824) an adopted child who was of oriental lineage! They had 11 children. The family sailed all by themselves on The S.S. Circassion and settled in Blumenfeld, south of Winkler.

The amazing thing is that a physical oriental trait has certainly been seen in old photos of the Schmidt family, and some of my generation as well! These traits seems to randomly appear in different extensions of the family, especially in the eyes and the jet black hair of some of them. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of Maria, but I can just imagine her beauty (and why Solomon was smitten!!).

Maria would be my Great Great Grandma, giving me just a sliver (1/16) of oriental descent!

Here is a picture of my dad's father, as a child. I never met him, as he passed away before I was born.

You can't miss it!

And a picture of my dad, as a child.

And here's Brady and Grandpa - I just couldn't resist throwing this one in here.....I know he's doing a goofy face, but if you look for it, there is maybe just a glimpse of the orient in his eyes!!!!

How about you? Tell me something, big or little, that I probably don't know about you!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


It finally feels like I am on the mend....and it couldn't have come at a better time. The diet consisting of ice cream and jello, with the occasional bowl of soup was ready for a change. Although ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner isn't all bad!

I've been working on getting some pics of the boys, long overdue. The last two evenings we've tried to take advantage of the mild evenings and sunshine. Even though for every hundred photos taken, there may only be a couple that are useable, sometimes the 'outtakes' are just as fun!

Here are some of our outtakes. They won't qualify for any cards or exchanging with friends, but they are fun, none the less!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Outta there!

My date with the great oral surgeon (Dr. Canosa) went well: translate: I have absolutely no recollection of it!!

Perk: got a hefty chunk of Visa points as a result of this procedure.

My face is an Ice Pack Sandwich.

I count down the minutes till my next T3 cocktail.

My breath is foul. I've been told.

I have a handsome male nurse tending to my needs.

He gave me a walkie talkie after I couldn't get his attention by knocking on the wall.

So thankful for my gracious drivers (sisters!!) who drove me to and from the appointment.

Wonderful to now have regained control of all facial muscles.

Hmmmmm....just realized I have nothing to put under my pillow tonight. We're talking FOUR here. That could have been a good haul. Anyone want to text/email my tooth fairy to remind him?

Sent from my iPod

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Scoop

Nate was an A+ patient today! I was so impressed and very proud of him. Lying down on the different tables as required, no fuss, no question. Not even needing the usual BIG story/distraction from me. He was a star!

The echo shows no positive changes. The leakage is still severe. The gradient on the band is still unchanged, not serving any purpose at this point. His ventricle (pumping chamber) is showing signs of being tired, a change from August. His liver is also larger than at his last appointment. These are both red flags, so for now, we are increasing his Lasix dosage slightly to help alleviate some of his symptoms (wet cough and laboured breathing). Dr. Soni is also going to discuss Nate's situation with Dr. Redington (head of cardiology at Sick Kids in Toronto) again. He has previously discussed Nate with Dr. Soni, after our return from Edmonton. She'll be seeing him next week, so she will talk to him about Nate's options, in light of the current changes, and get back to us the following week.

And now it's my turn to get some advice from Nate, him being the star patient and all, to see if he can give me any pointers. The day has come for my wisdom to be removed, by way of my 4 wise teeth on Friday! But, hey, if my little boy can get through heart surgery, I think I shouldn't be complaining too hard about a bit of dental surgery!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Here we go again!

Just a quick Nate update! We weren't due to see his cardiologist until December, but in the last 2 months we've been noticing some changes, and Dr. Soni wanted him to come in to see her. He's had more 'wetness' to his cough and his breathing has become a more laboured or heavier with exertion. I'm hoping it may be as simple as increasing his meds, but they'll do an echo just to see what's really going on!

You can pray that Nate does just as great as he did (for the first time) at his last appointment. They key to getting awesome diagnostics is a very calm and still child, (ie. not wiggling and crying!). Thanks - and I'll be sure to update when we get home!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

That is, if you're north of the 49th!

Wishing you a great weekend! Hope it includes a lot of fun with family and friends, along with great food and at least one piece of pie!

I have so much to be thankful for.... a list that would have no end. Here are just 2 - they rank pretty high on my list!

And thank you - to each one of you. For the countless times and ways you've supported our little family. Exactly 7 months ago, Don and I, and our sweet little Nate, got on a plane, unaware of what kind of adventure we'd be in for. But your prayers, love and support surrounded us. God bless you all!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Watch this...

I was checking up on Bowen, and watched this video that his dad (Matt - from Sanctus Real) had posted. Watch just one minute of it, and I guarantee, you'll watch it to the end.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A 70's Weekend!

Well, to sum it up in the theme of the weekend - the Women's Retreat was groovy, totally gnarly, ridiculously radical and far out!

The times of worship, hearing the stories of everyday women and their decision to choose God and to choose joy, some pretty fantastic food, cool 70's activities.....that's just the beginning!

Really, I only had my camera out for about an hour, so this is just a little snippet of a peek into the weekend!

Here we have our fearless tie dye leader!

And some fun and laughs at the climbing wall....

This is
NOT me, I had climbed a wall of a different sort that morning, but my sister did a fabulous job scaling this wall!

And there are definitely NO pictures of the disco dancing class.....oh yeah....'Stayin' Alive' now has a some good time memories!!!

Sharing Nate's story was difficult in a personal way - but I knew it was something I needed to do when I was asked. I met some wonderful ladies, and was blessed and encouraged by them, and can now feel a part of their journey as well.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gearing Up!

The Winkler Bible Camp's 'Women's Retreat' starts today! I'm purging my bag of all diapers, wipes, dinosaurs and Hotwheels, throwing in a little lip gloss and my camera! It's going to be a great weekend....the cheesecake and nachos are calling my name!

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, September 17, 2010


This funny little cartoon just about sums it up! Anyone else having a day like this?

Between extra work projects on the side, getting Brady (and me) into school routine, prepping for the Women's Retreat (are you going?), regular work days and just the everyday life stuff, I'm feeling a little frazzled!

My prescription is: turn off your computer, unplug the phone, go find some cheesecake and get cozy in your favorite chair!

Well, we can all dream, can't we?!?

(I do have some cream cheese in the freezer..........hmmmm!).

Wishing you a great weekend and the gumption to crawl out from under the bed!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bowen's Heart

If you enjoy the music of the Christian band Sanctus Real, you may know about Matthew (the lead singer) and Sarah Hammitt. Their third child, a boy - Bowen - was born this week with the very rare and complex heart condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). He underwent his first surgery and there have been some very intense moments. You can pray for the Hammitt family and follow Bowen's journey here.

Here is one of the group's songs.

And another one. If you're a husband or a dad, you should watch it! If you're a wife or a mother, you should watch it, too!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Say it ain't so....

My handsome little boy started kindergarten!

Nate wanted in on the picture taking too!!

I totally caved and surprised him with THE COOLEST (according to Brady) and tackiest (according to me) backpack ever. Oh yes, it lights up and everything!!

A new world of adventure....

Monday, September 6, 2010

We're Hooked!

We went on our first ever geocaching adventure today - right here in Winkler! Fun for all of us! Brady loves to navigate and gives us all very precise directions. We found 2 today, and we'll check for at least one or two when we're in Morden tomorrow evening!

Brady's first treasure...

And searching for the second one...

Already excited about our next adventure!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The boys...

I'm mostly laughing about the influence a person can have on a child's interests and activities. I guess Brady has been picking up on my never ending search of the perfect house plan. I thought the boys were coloring jeeps and hotwheels this morning, but when Brady came and showed me the house plan he was working on, I had to chuckle, of course only after telling him what an amazing house that was going to be!

When I came across these monstrous marshmallows, we just had to get a bag and try them out. They're ridiculously huge, but since it's one of Brady's favourite 'foods', I thought it would be fun!

It makes for quite a mouthful when you add the smores cookies!

And everything basically ends up squishing out!

And you kinda end up with 2 cookies and a trace of marshmallow left between the cookies!

And really, they're so huge, you really can't get them nice and toasted and gooey all the way through! They were more successful in the 'layer roasting' technique - just peel off the outer layer of toasty goodness, and then stick it back over the fire and roast it again!

Nate's been enjoying life too! Putting his feet up and taking it easy!

And being coy...

And eating corn!
Have yourself a great weekend!